The “Make Believe” NYSE Opening

Markets are set to open shortly, but I am wondering why.

I’ve spoken/email/Tweeted to a substantial number of traders and fund managers — very few people seem to be operating normally, regardless of where they live. Lots of quote issues, Bloomberg not running normally, connectivity problems. This is not remotely an ideal set of conditions for trading.

I was trying to figure out why the NYSE would open when not at full operating capacity, and I came up with three possibilities:

1. Competitive issues: The exchange want to demonstrate its still the market leader; they did not want to lose share or appear lacking in an emergency plan.

2.  Confidence: Much of equity investing depends on a series of ephemeral beliefs, some of which are more (and some less) justified. Part of this is confidence in the internal structures and institutions, which have failed repeatedly over he past decade. Hence, making a good show of things is part of that

3. Window Dressing: Its more than getting open for a last day of the month Window dressing — Mutual funds are closing out their year on October 31st.  I suspect they are desperate to get one last positive mark on the books before  the new year begins.

Perhaps sitting in my cold, dark living room is affecting my perspective, but it is what it is. If you have more positive anecdotes, by all means let me know.

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